Friday, September 4, 2009

Under the Weather, Yet There is 'Work' to be Done.

Back in Belgium, jet-lagged and somewhat out of sorts. Got a big fest today and a tasting tomorrow, yet I can't tell my allergies from a cold. Can't smell a damned thing. A few good beers are likely to be wasted on me. Beats staying home.

And it must be Belgian Beer Weekend, since it's raining. Oddly appropriate and I don't mind at all. I've got my gear and the wet weather seems to clear away some of the casual drinkers. Just got to watch that the raindrops don't smear my notebook.

Last year I wasn't able to talk my way into the pre-fest ceremonies. This year I had no problem. I will be there to witness the consecration of the beer at the cathedral, the knighting ceremony at the city hall, and the "solemn inauguration" of the beer stands. That last one is the best—a blatant way for us VIPs (ha!) to drink for a while before you plebes can enter.

Need ideas for what to try? The list has a lot of chaff. How about St. Feuillien Saison, a dryish farmhouse ale that's getting good reviews. Or the Bockor Cuvée des Jacobins, a reddish-brown sour ale that Bockor uses as a blend in its sweeter beers. (This is likely the same as the damned interesting Foederbier I tried last year... Seems they are getting wise and marketing it a bit, especially for export to the U.S. Yet the Bockor team still seems to think that Belgians can't handle sour stuff and would prefer the sweet fruit beers. More on that another day, hopefully sooner rather than later.)

A couple of mysteries to me: The St. Feuillien Leon and the Verhaeghe Barbe d'Or. Both unknown names from solid breweries. Meanwhile the Maneblusser from Anker, a 6% blonde ale aiming to be the signature beer of Mechelen, is getting some hype.

So there are a few interesting things to try, besides some reliable things to drink—Saison Dupont, Timmermans Oude Gueuze, Petrus Aged Pale, etc.—if all else goes awry. Just hope I can taste them. Sniff sniff BLOW. Don't drink from my glass and please excuse the used tissue poking out of my coat pockets.

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